Police on Thursday arrested two men and a woman in connection with the ‘spy van’ case which has become an embarrassment for Cyprus.
The two men – aged 30 and 35, along with the 41-year-old woman – were all employees of the Larnaca-based Israeli company which owns the van.
They are scheduled to appear before Larnaca district court on Friday, facing a total of 13 charges.
These include conspiracy to commit a crime, offences in relation to the Privacy Act, Protection of Individuals against the Processing of Personal Data, Securing Registration through False Representations, and violation of Radio Communication laws.
The ‘spy van’ story was showcased in a Forbes video story broadcast several months ago that recently went viral in Cyprus.
Forbes had named the owner of the van as ex-Israeli intelligence officer Tal Dilian, who allegedly heads a Cyprus-registered company that owns the vehicle.
The company which owns the vehicle, WiSpear has issued a statement making clear that its confiscated vehicle has not been active within Cypriot territory other than for demo and field tests purposes only.
A couple of weeks ago, Attorney General Costas Clerides appointed lawyer Elias Stephanou as an independent criminal investigator to assist the police team investigating the case.
In an announcement, Clerides said that the decision came in view of the seriousness of the case under investigation and the legal implications that continue to come to light.
Police have confiscated the van and say their inquiries — which relate to probes on whether the constitutional right to private life and the confidentiality of communication had been breached — were at an advanced stage.
The issue has also taken political overtones, with opposition Akel leading criticism of the case and prompting President Nicos Anastasiades to hold a meeting with Akel general secretary Andros Kyprianou.
The attorney general also said that the independent criminal investigator will work with the police investigators and contribute to the multifaceted work it has been called to carry out.
Stephanou, who formerly worked at the Legal Service of the Republic, is an experienced lawyer in criminal law, the attorney general added.